Micheletto apologizes to fans, aims to regroup following 11-1 loss

By Jason Kates

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

There wasn’t one particular area the Massachusetts men’s hockey team could pinpoint Saturday night as an area of weakness. Instead, everything crumbled at once.

In front of their home fans, the Minutemen suffered their worst loss under head coach John Micheletto, falling to No. 11 University of Vermont by an astounding score of 11-1 Saturday night.

When Micheletto walked into the media room to give his press conference, the look on his face said it all.

After a tough 5-3 loss Friday night to No. 12 Boston College, he had witnessed his team get run out of their own building by the Catamounts, who had 17 different players register a point.

“We need to apologize to our fans,” Micheletto said. “That is certainly not the way we are trained to play and not the way we want to play. People continue to give us a chance to prove what we’re worth but tonight was certainly not a good representation of that.”

In a loaded Hockey East, every conference game is a chance for UMass to prove that it’s capable of contending with the top teams. With a game like this hanging over their heads, the Minutemen will have to figure out what isn’t working if they wish to make the conference tournament in March.

“I know that when you get the mirror held up in front of you on a bad day, it’s not pretty to see what’s in that mirror looking back at you,” Micheletto said when asked how he will get his team to regroup after a loss like this. “When you see that image staring back at you, you either gotta make some decisions to change what you see or continue on down that path.

“My experience tells me that most competitive people choose to stare into that abyss and change the way they do it. I certainly hope come Tuesday it be our first opportunity to make a better effort in being the team that we want to be.”

For a squad that boasts 15 underclassmen, Micheletto would like to think a game like this will provide a valuable learning experience for the younger guys moving forward. Many will recall that this is not the first bad loss UMass has suffered this season, falling to Boston University 8-1 in the season opener, also at home.

“I certainly know that there will be ups-and-downs. Tonight was not a night that I could have envisioned,” he said.

Despite the score, the Minutemen were only outshot 31-29, but could not seem to find a rhythm offensively, especially after spotting UVM a 4-0 lead. Ben Gallacher was the lone scorer for UMass, tallying a shorthanded goal on a one-timer from Zack LaRue.

“I thought the game plan we had was pretty good for nine minutes until 9:36 in the first,” Micheletto said. “Then between there and 14:11 we seemed to want to try something different and obviously it became readily apparent that the game plan was not one that was going to bring us success.

“If we want to do the things that allow us to have success we can be a pretty good team.”

With a rematch against the Catamounts set for Tuesday night, Micheletto will have three days to make some adjustments and show that the Minutemen can be a tough team to beat in the Hockey East.

Jason Kates can be reached at [email protected] and followed @Jason_Kates